Thinking Outside the Box–Literally

Image by Paul Lim*

We’ve all heard the advice, “Think outside the box,” but now, thanks to a team of researchers, the cliché takes on a whole new, literal meaning. In a Times op-ed piece, three scholars of management and organizations—two from the University of Michigan, one from New York University (NYU)—reveal their compelling new findings about creativity. The writers indicate a direct correlation between people’s physical experiences and their ability to come up with fresh ideas and solutions.

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Wallace Foundation Funds Arts Education in Boston

Guess the last word of this sentence: “Arts education in Boston is being _____.”

Recent news from around the nation might have led you to say “cut,” but the right answer, happily, is “expanded.” The city has just announced that the Wallace Foundation will donate $4 million over four years to grow Boston’s Arts Expansion Initiative for public schools.

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Disney Funds Creative Education in China

Image by ToGa Wanderings*

Disney is at it again. In 2011, The Walt Disney Company co-sponsored America’s Imagination Summit, the major education event that Lincoln Center Institute held here in New York City. Now Disney has announced that it will donate $1.6 million to support the United Nations Children’s Fund and China’s Ministry of Education, as they work to enhance the education—and creativity—of young people in China. I applaud the organization’s depth of commitment.

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Story Starters—A Deck of Cards for the Young Imagination

In our book Imagination First, Eric Liu and I write about Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards created by musician Brian Eno in 1975: “Each of the over one hundred cards contains what Eno calls ‘a worthwhile dilemma’—a concise, cryptic prompt….meant to give direction.” Today, I bring news of another novel deck of cards, this one aimed at children: the Spark Your Imagination Story Starters.

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Boy Scouts of America and Edison Nation® Announce Innovation Challenge

Image by RDECOM*

One of the most tradition-based organizations in the country, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), is getting into the innovation act. Today it announced, in partnership with product developer Edison Nation®, the BSA Innovation Challenge. This represents yet another opportunity for our children to put their imagination and creativity to work—and be rewarded for the fruits of their labor.

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Robots, Learning, and Play

Here’s an imaginative idea: Latitude, an international research consultancy, asked 348 children around the world, “What if robots were a part of your everyday life—at school and beyond?” The kids were to answer in the form of an illustrated short story. Now the results of the Robots @ School study are in, and they reveal what today’s young people think and feel about learning and technology.

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NASA Looks to Americans for Aerospace Innovation

Eric Liu and I write about “challenge awards” in our book, Imagination First—prizes offered to people for accomplishing a stated task or solving a given problem. We point out the value of deliberately open-ended challenges, which create more room for bold and unexpected ideas to emerge. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program’s recent call for proposals is a perfect example.

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